Iron County Progressive


From the Wisconsin AFL-CIO

The people went to the polls in November and voted for a new direction in Madison, not a repeat of the Scott Walker dirty tricks playbook. Yet, immediately after Tony Evers was elected Governor, Republicans in the State Legislature revealed their plans to hold a special legislative session to take away critical pieces of the new Democratic governor's authority before he takes office.

A special session is a period when the legislature meets and passes bills outside of a normally scheduled legislative session.

Republican legislators even want to change long established election dates and add an additional statewide election that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars just to give their hand-picked conservative justice a better chance at winning a Supreme Court election.

TAKE ACTION NOW to stop the GOP lame duck power grab:

1. CALL 866-832-1560 and tell your legislators you oppose the lame-duck special session power grab.


3. Share the call-in number to your social media pages.

Republicans aren’t looking to help Wisconsinites in this special session, but to rig our democracy to their own unfair advantage. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) plainly stated the motive for changing the election date is to give a hand-picked conservative judge a 'better chance' at election.

Republicans in the Legislature need to stop playing politics. Voters went to the polls and spoke loud and clear that we want a new direction in Madison, not the same old political games from Scott Walker. Instead of being sore losers, the legislature needs to start solving Wisconsin’s problems. Wisconsinites want our elected officials to work together on the issues that matter to working families: creating good jobs, fixing a rigged economy that favors the wealthy, protecting affordable health care, and strengthening our middle class by strengthening union rights.

Take action now to stop the special session power grab today. CALL 866-832-1560 and tell your legislators you oppose the lame-duck special session and want our elected officials to work together with our newly elected Governor on solving real issues facing working families.

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President

Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer



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Joel McNally: Walker’s horrendous Foxconn deal looks even worse

By Joel McNally SMS

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It probably didn’t seem that way at the time, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker may have been fortunate the election ending his political career took place when it did. Just a week later, a major national announcement revealed the horrendous $4 billion deal Walker negotiated with the Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn was by far the most astronomical taxpayer giveaway in U.S. history producing the fewest jobs.

If voters had received such glaring proof of political incompetence before the election, Walker’s narrow defeat could have been a massive landslide even if he escaped getting tarred, feathered and chased out of the state with pitchforks.

The Tuesday after Election Day was when Amazon announced the grand-prize winners of the largest economic development jackpot in American history: New York, Virginia and Tennessee would gain 55,000 high-paying Amazon jobs in exchange for more than $2.4 billion in state subsidies.

It didn’t take long for Wisconsin taxpayers to realize exactly what Amazon’s announcement meant for them. They’d been taken to the cleaners by Walker, President Donald Trump and Terry Gou, Foxconn’s billionaire chairman. Walker’s deal with Foxconn provided $4 billion in state and local taxpayer subsidies in exchange for an actual guarantee of only 3,000 jobs paying an average of $53,000 a year in a Mount Pleasant electronics plant.

Compare that to the enormous number of higher-paying jobs costing far less for the winners of the great Amazon lottery. Amazon split 50,000 headquarters jobs averaging $150,000 a year with 25,000 going to New York, which bid $1.5 billion in direct state subsidies, and 25,000 to Virginia bidding only $573 million in direct subsidies plus infrastructure, transportation and educational improvements. Nashville, Tenn., was a surprise last-minute addition, winning an Amazon operations center providing 5,000 new jobs in exchange for $102 million in state subsidies.

Economic experts who track politicians frantically throwing enormous bundles of cash at multibillion-dollar corporations in exchange for jobs question whether such one-sided deals ever pay off for taxpayers. Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated state taxpayers wouldn’t recoup their obscenely high cash payments to Foxconn for a quarter-century. Economists thought New York’s $1.5 billion for 25,000 Amazon jobs already was a gross overpayment. That puts Wisconsin’s $4 billion to Foxconn for fewer jobs than Nashville got for $102 million on another planet somewhere.

“The Foxconn deal is one of the all-time historically bad tax giveaways by any state,” said Jeffrey Dorfman, an economics professor at the University of Georgia, “whereas the Amazon deals look more like an average bad tax giveaway to a big business.”

Walker outrageously exaggerated the jobs from Foxconn from the day in July 2017 he joined Trump in the White House for the honor of being selected to pay Chairman Gou billions of dollars to manufacture electronic LCD screens in Wisconsin. The three celebrants — Walker, Trump and Gou — all had a history of promising unbelievable jobs numbers that failed to materialize.

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Walker rhetorically added 10,000 to the 3,000 jobs Foxconn actually was required to provide contractually. Trump and Gou backed up that dubious claim with vague references to one day possibly providing “up to 13,000 jobs.” Or possibly not.

Many state taxpayers immediately were concerned they might actually be subsidizing jobs for residents of Illinois with the border only 20 miles away. Despite the billions in state tax dollars going to Foxconn, Walker’s agreement didn’t require preferential hiring for Wisconsin residents.

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair


Republicans trying to get rid of checks and balances

 
·         It hasn’t even been a week since the people of Wisconsin chose Tony Evers as their new governor, yet legislative Republicans are already trying to override the will of the people.

Robin Vos, like the typical career politician he is, has threatened to take up legislation to rip certain executive powers away from the governor’s office in order to subvert the will of voters. He and his Republican colleagues are desperate to cling to power, even if it means gutting our constitution and separation of powers.

Wisconsinites left behind the politics of divide and conquer when they elected Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes to be their governor and lt. governor. Wisconsinites want their leaders to address the issues facing their families and communities, like our rising health care costs and crumbling roads. Instead, Vos has chosen to pick petty political fights over addressing real issues.

On Baraboo

I want to address a photo that was circulating around the Internet this week. You probably already know what I’m talking about -- the photo was of a group of high school students at Baraboo High School performing what was clearly a nazi salute. I don’t want to repost this image as it is an ugly, outrageous display of hate.

I appreciated this article written by Monnica Hesse of the Washington Post on the subject, particularly this quote:
  • So, to the Baraboo superintendent: If your defense is, “We’re a hate-free environment,” but there’s a photo of 60 of your students Sieg Heil-ing on the steps of the county courthouse, then maybe you should consider the possibility that you are, in fact, a hate-filled environment. You should also consider the possibility that a useful response wouldn’t be to deny it but rather to interrogate it. Maybe something like: Our students did an awful thing. We’re trying to figure out why, and how we can have the conversations to help make sure they never want to do it again.
There is no room for these displays of anti-Semitism and white supremacy in our communities. We need to be better than this. It is on every single one of us to create a climate of love and acceptance where these acts of hate are not tolerated. Until we as Americans acknowledge the hate that lives in our communities and work to change that climate, we will continue to see hateful acts like this. So let’s lead by example and show our children and young people through our actions that hate has no place here in Wisconsin.

 


 

Governor-elect Evers launches transition site!

 
You can check out the happenings of our new administration at Governor-elect Tony Evers's new website: www.evers.wi.gov! Tony and Mandela want to hear from you -- so please, share your comments with our new administration (or even apply for a job!) at www.evers.wi.gov today! 



Wisconsin AFL-CIO

This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for a movement of working people who are coming together in workplaces and in our communities for a better tomorrow.

Before you gather around the table with your loved ones Thursday, double check that you are supporting good jobs and America’s middle class by purchasing union made in America products.

From Ocean Spray products, some of which are made right here in Wisconsin by members of the Machinists Union, to Birdseye Vegetables made in Darien by United Food and Commercial Workers to crescent rolls, made by Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers workers and more -- there’s a bounty of union made food items to choose from. You can even serve your meal on union made plates with union made cutlery.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving from the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President

Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer

Senator Janet Bewley Wins Re-Election to the Wisconsin State Senate



Mason,WI - Early this morning, Janet Bewley won re-election to serve another four
year term in the Wisconsin State Senate. Senator Bewley defeated Republican
challenger James Bolen with 51% of the vote.



“I want to thank everyone who supported me and my campaign over the last several
months,” Said Bewley, “When I got into politics, I pledged to run on the issues
affecting my constituents , and I’m proud of the race that we ran on those very
issues. It is a great honor to be re-elected to the Wisconsin State Senate and
I pledge to continue to work for everyone within the 25th Senate District,
regardless of their political persuasion.”



Bewleyconcluded, “I look forward to working with Governor-elect Evers and his
incoming administration, as well as my colleagues in the State Legislature,
towards common sense solutions to the issues we all care about: well funded public
education, finding a solution to our transportation funding shortfall, and
expanding healthcare into the most rural areas of the state.”


Senator JanetBewley has served the 25th Senate District since 2015 after previously servingtwo terms in the State Assembly. The 25th Senate District includes all of or
some of 13 counties; Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Price, Vilas, Washburn,
Burnett, Barron, Dunn, St. Croix, Sawyer, and Polk



From the State AFL-CIO
It was a historic night in Wisconsin. With all votes counted and record mid-term election turnout, Tony Evers won and is our new Governor with a recount proof margin.

It has been a long 8 years of anti-worker policies from Scott Walker who looked after big money donors, not the people.

Tony Evers’ win is a clear signal that Wisconsinites will not stand for attacks on workers’ rights and our freedom to collectively bargain. We look forward to working with the Evers Administration to restore union rights to every Wisconsin worker, raise wages, fully fund our schools and invest in infrastructure so that we can finally fix our roads and bridges.

A hearty congratulations to all our Wisconsin AFL-CIO endorsed candidates who won last night, including:

·         Senator Tammy Baldwin to U.S. Senate.

·         Josh Kaul our next Attorney General.

·         Sarah Godlewski State Treasurer.

Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes – we look forward to this new day for Wisconsin workers as we work together to restore worker rights and reclaim our Wisconsin progressive tradition.

Union members have been doing the grassroots work of lacing up our boots and having conversations on front porch steps, in the workplace, over the phone, and at the mail box to ramp up the union vote for pro-worker candidates. The ground work of labor activism made the difference Tuesday.

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President
Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer

From The New Yorker Magazine

Did Scott Walker and Donald Trump Deal Away the Wisconsin Governor’s Race to Foxconn?

As the public has become aware of the spiralling costs associated with building a new Foxconn plant in Wisconsin, the deal has become something of a political liability for the governor.


November 3, 2018

In September of 2017, Governor Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin, signed a contract that would make his state the home of the first U.S. factory of Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer. The company, which is based in Taiwan and makes products for Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, among others, would build a 21.5-million-square-foot manufacturing campus, invest up to ten billion dollars in Wisconsin, and hire as many as thirteen thousand workers at an average wage of fifty-four thousand dollars a year. For Walker, whose approval had fallen to the mid-thirties after his aborted Presidential run, the deal was seen as a crucial boost to his reĆ«lection prospects. “The Foxconn initiative looked like something that could be a hallmark of Walker’s reĆ«lection campaign,” Charles Franklin, a professor and pollster at Marquette University Law School, told me. “He could claim a major new manufacturing presence, one that would also employ blue-collar workers in a region where blue-collar jobs are more scarce than they used to be.”

The idea of putting the plant in southeastern Wisconsin originated in April of 2017, during a helicopter ride President Donald Trump took with Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin native and Trump’s chief of staff at the time. Flying over Kenosha, Priebus’s home town, they passed the empty lot that once held the American Motors Corporation plant. “Why is all that land vacant?” Trump asked, according to an account Priebus gave to a Milwaukee television station. “That land should be used.” When Terry Gou, Foxconn’s chairman, came to the White House to discuss Foxconn’s desire to build a U.S. factory, Trump suggested the site in Kenosha. It wasn’t big enough, but the town of Mt. Pleasant, fifteen miles north, pursued the company aggressively, and was ultimately selected by Foxconn in October of 2017.

The project moved quickly. Last June, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Mt. Pleasant to celebrate a political triumph for Trump and Walker. After depositing a couple scoops of earth with a gold-plated shovel, Trump called Foxconn’s future campus “the eighth wonder of the world” and hinted that its promise of well-paying manufacturing jobs could be a model for other states in the Midwest, which were, like Wisconsin, crucial to Trump’s narrow Electoral College victory in the 2016 election. “I recommended Wisconsin, in this case,” Trump said. “And I’ll be recommending Ohio, and I’ll be recommending Pennsylvania, and I’ll be recommending Iowa.”

But as the public has become aware of the spiralling costs for these jobs, the Foxconn deal has become something of a political liability for Walker, particularly among voters outside of southeastern Wisconsin. Those costs include taxpayer subsidies to the company totalling more than $4.5 billion, the largest subsidy for a foreign corporation in American history. Since Wisconsin already exempts manufacturing companies from paying taxes, Foxconn, which generated a hundred and fifty-eight billion dollars in revenue last year, will receive much of this subsidy in direct cash payments from taxpayers. Depending on how many jobs are actually created, taxpayers will be paying between two  hundred and twenty thousand dollars and more than a million dollars per job. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, a nonpartisan agency that provides economic analysis to the Wisconsin state legislature, the earliest citizens might see a return on their Foxconn investment is in 2042.

There are other costs that have contributed to public skepticism over the Foxconn deal. At Walker’s request, Scott Pruitt, then the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, overruled the objections of his staff to grant most of southeastern Wisconsin an exemption from limits on smog pollution. (Walker declined to respond to interview requests for this article.) The Wisconsin state legislature passed a bill granting Foxconn special court privileges; unlike other litigants, the company can make multiple appeals of unfavorable rulings in a single case, and can even appeal an unfavorable ruling directly to the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court. But few costs have caused more outrage than the manner in which Mt. Pleasant’s Village Board of Trustees secured the twenty-eight hundred acres of land, roughly four square miles, necessary to build the Foxconn campus.

To make space for Foxconn’s development, which will also necessitate many miles of new roads, the Village Board has been buying properties, sometimes using the threat of eminent domain to force reluctant homeowners to sell at a price determined by the village. Several weeks before the groundbreaking, the seven-member board went further. By a 6–1 vote, the board designated the entire twenty-eight-hundred-acre area “blighted,” which will allow Mt. Pleasant to issue bonds that are exempt from both federal and state taxes, and may also grant the village a more expansive use of eminent domain to seize the property of the few remaining holdouts, a small if highly visible group, whose property-rights fight embodies a wider sense of disenchantment with the Foxconn deal.

The agreement’s high cost, estimated at nearly eighteen hundred dollars per household, has created a heavy burden for taxpayers, and a political risk for Walker. After the terms were announced, last year, Governor John Kasich, Republican of Ohio, said, “I’ll tell you one thing, it’s not going to take us forty years to make back the investment we make. We don’t buy deals.” A majority of Wisconsin voters have never believed the state was getting its money’s worth, according to polls conducted by Franklin at Marquette. His polling has also consistently shown a majority of voters believe that Foxconn will not help businesses in their area. “The governor’s fortunes are so tied up with his backing of Foxconn,” Franklin said. “When it was first announced it was, in the short term, perceived as this major victory for Walker, the thing that might solidify its hold on the election.” Now, Foxconn is one of the main reasons Walker has trailed his Democratic opponent, Tony Evers, the state superintendent of schools, in nearly every poll since the August primaries.




There are other costs that have contributed to public skepticism over the Foxconn deal. At Walker’s request, Scott Pruitt, then the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, overruled the objections of his staff to grant most of southeastern Wisconsin an exemption from limits on smog pollution. (Walker declined to respond to interview requests for this article.) The Wisconsin state legislature passed a bill granting Foxconn special court privileges; unlike other litigants, the company can make multiple appeals of unfavorable rulings in a single case, and can even appeal an unfavorable ruling directly to the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court. But few costs have caused more outrage than the manner in which Mt. Pleasant’s Village Board of Trustees secured the twenty-eight hundred acres of land, roughly four square miles, necessary to build the Foxconn campus.

To make space for Foxconn’s development, which will also necessitate many miles of new roads, the Village Board has been buying properties, sometimes using the threat of eminent domain to force reluctant homeowners to sell at a price determined by the village. Several weeks before the groundbreaking, the seven-member board went further. By a 6–1 vote, the board designated the entire twenty-eight-hundred-acre area “



Friends and Supporters:

It’s hard to believe there are just a couple days left in an election cycle that changed my life.  

I began the journey I never saw coming more than a year before President Obama made his last speech in office where he said, “If something needs fixin’, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing.”  

I saw a lot in Wisconsin that needed fixin’ and I’d spent my entire career successfully taking on challenges where things were broken.  So, I laced up my shoes and started traveling the state to listen to the people directly confronted by the complicated social issues holding our state back to inform the kinds of solutions that would make living in Wisconsin better for everybody.
I spent 18 months meeting with more than 700 people all over the state and advanced innovative plans to create jobs and improve education.  It became increasingly clear to me that if I was disappointed with the state of our affairs in Wisconsin then it was time for me to “…grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office…” myself. So, I did.  

I found goodness in people whether or not they agreed with my ideas and/or positions on issues.  

I was invited in to see people’s lives close up and I was energized and inspired by these amazing people every day. Together, we built great statewide momentum and support, but I still lost the battle of name recognition as someone who’d never spent a moment in the political arena.  While this was deeply disappointing, it is impossible for me to un-see all that I’ve seen and un-experience all that I’ve experienced.    

We have a lot of work to do and that’s what this election is all about for me.  

I may not be carrying the banner for our party or state, but democrats have a lot of enormously talented, committed and tenacious candidates who are ready to “…show up, dive in and stay at it...” so we can become a Wisconsin That Works for everybody.  Tony Evers is one of those great candidates.  This Tuesday you and your family, friends and neighbors have the power to elect Tony our next governor and put more than 100 other amazing democratic candidates in office to work for you so we can get back to being Wisconsin. Introduce them to your friends by forwarding this email and tagging (see below) your candidates on Facebook with your endorsement. 

“If you’re tired of arguing with people on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life.”  

Try engaging that person at the grocery store, gas station or diner in a real conversation about the future of our state.  Listen more than you speak.  Search for that common ground around the things we all care about – our families and our futures.  

Instead of living the tribal politics designed to rip us apart, engage your neighbors in a conversation about living a quality life in Wisconsin and you’ll quickly find that we’re all part of one tribe.

When I began this journey, I had no idea what to expect.  I didn’t expect to find a state filled with hugs and smiles; I didn’t expect to find myself witness to dreams and tears; I didn’t expect to make so many new friends that now feel more like extended family to me.  And, I didn’t expect to find myself in a room with President Obama and experience him stopping to give my daughter Maria a hug.  

Every day of this incredible journey has been energizing and inspirational and my faith in all that’s possible in our state and in our country has been confirmed.  Thank you all for sharing your hopes and dreams with me. 

Now, let’s all get out and vote for people throughout our state and country who will hope and dream right along with us and get the kinds of things done that will make all of our lives better.  

With gratitude for everything,

Andy Gronik

Former Candidate for Governor of Wisconsin

P.S.  Please take some folks with you to the polls!